By Gary Clapton.
Jessica Kingsley Publishing
Little has been written about the effects of adoption on birth fathers in the UK. Gary Clapton’s study of 30 birth fathers who lost a child through adoption more than 20 years ago does much to fill the gaps in the literature.
Clapton’s study describes the experiences of birth fathers from the pregnancy to the decision to place the child for adoption, and then on to the life after adoption through to re-establishing contact with the now adult adopted person.
He helps the reader gain a greater understanding of the thoughts and feelings of birth fathers. Many of the psychological implications of adoption that have been widely reported by birth mothers are echoed by the birth fathers in this study.
One of the messages here is how the birth father’s role is often overlooked and marginalised when decisions about plans for children are being made. Clapton raises some pointers to ensure that policy and practice considers the needs of birth fathers in the adoption process.
This is an essential book for professionals working in family placement and certainly gives an insight into the enduring lifelong impact adoption can have for birth fathers.
Julia Feast is policy research and development consultant, Baaf Adoption and Fostering.